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Buying a car? The right timing can mean the best deal

Posted September 18

Get the best deal on a new car
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— Buying a vehicle? While your negotiation tactics matter, experts say that timing is a bigger factor than you may realize when it comes to getting a great deal on a new car.

“The time of year, the time of the month and even the time of day can affect the deal you get and what’s available for purchase,” says Brian Moody, executive editor of Autotrader. “Timing can be everything if you want the best deal.”

Moody and the experts at Autotrader are offering some important timing insights to those on the hunt for a vehicle.

Show up late

At the end of the day, sales and finance professionals are ready to head home. But a smart salesperson will not let a serious potential customer walk away just because the dealership is ready to close shop. Provided the salesperson is dealing with a serious buyer, he or she may make concessions during late hours to speed up negotiations.

Of course, shoppers may be tired and ready to go home, too, causing the plan to backfire. So make sure you’re well-rested and ready to hang in there for the long haul if you decide to pursue this strategy.

Wait it out

Know what you want? Don’t rush to the dealership. If possible, consider waiting until the end of a month or even the end of a quarter to make your vehicle purchase.

“Just like at the end of the year, dealers have monthly and quarterly sales goals. If they’re just shy of the target, they could be more motivated to get the deal done,” suggests Moody.

Be in-season

The season you purchase your vehicle matters. For example, late summer and early fall is when new-model-year vehicles are rolling into dealers’ inventories. Some of the best deals are on “leftover” models. For instance, a 2016 model may be steeply discounted once 2017 models arrive. In some cases, dealers will even have the previous model year in stock. For example, Autotrader.com still has listings for brand-new 2015 model vehicles.

Keep in mind, though, that since a leftover model is already outdated, it’s automatically worth less than a car from the latest model -- which means you’ll get a lower price if you resell. If you plan to keep your car a long time, this shouldn’t be a big issue.

“For those who don’t have to have the latest and greatest model, this is an easy way to save,” says Moody. “However, don’t expect to get both the latest model and the best deal. It’s likely you’ll have to make some concessions if you want the best possible price.

For more tips and strategies, visit autotrader.com/newcarbuying.

Learning a few tricks of the trade about timing your new car purchase may help you save considerably.

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